Recipe swap: friselle with tomatoes

It is time for the recipe swap again and this time we are dealing with tomato pudding.  How can this little book chose by Christianna be so full of wacky recipes is a mystery to me, but I guess that is life, so I’ll deal with it… And I will come out winning! Or at least I will try.

Anyway, after the first moment of despair, I thought I should do something with bread and tomatoes and friselle immediately came to mind. Friselle are a typical dish from Southern Italy, Puglia to be more specific. It is a simple dish, consisting of toasted bread and tomatoes.

The bread is toasted to death, until it basically turns into a brick. While this doesn’t sound very appealing, it is a very convenient way of storing bread for long periods of time. I read that friselle were a common food for sailors, that would just take them on their trip and soak them in sea water to soften and flavor them up before eating. Not sure if that is the best way of eating friselle, but I can see it working.

On land, friselle are usually seasoned up by topping them with tomatoes and letting the friselle absorb all the nice juices from the tomatoes. As all the flavor comes from the tomatoes, it is key to choose the most flavorful tomatoes you can find. If you do that, friselle will taste awesome.

On a side note, to make friselle you are basically making bread rolls and then toasting them dry. The bread rolls are awesome before toasting. So you might want to bake a bigger batch and toast some of the bread and eat the rest fresh out of the oven. Those seriously are among the best bread rolls I ever baked and a very close match to the pull apart mayo bread rolls I baked for Chef Dennis!

Check out what everyone else did!


Recipe swap: friselle with tomatoes

Yield: 16 Friselle

Recipe swap: friselle with tomatoes


  • 1/2 lb (about 2 cups) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 lb (about 2 cups) whole wheat flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp activated dry yeast
  • Topping (for 4 friselle)
  • 2 cups flavorful tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic (optional)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • basil (optional)


  1. Mix the two flours with 1 cup of water in which you dissolved the yeast. Add the salt and knead into a soft, non sticky ball adding the rest of the water as you knead. You might need to add a little less or a little more water depending on the flour, so add a bit at a time.
  2. When your dough is well kneaded, form into a ball and put in a large bowl. Cover in plastic and let proof until it doubles. It should take about 6 hours.
  3. Divide the dough into 8 parts weighting approximately 4oz. each and roll in balls the size of a baseball ball. Let rise for about 1 hour.
  4. Roll the balls out into a log and form into 8 bagels of sorts. Stretch out to get a rather wide hole, it will fill up as the bread raises. Cover again and let rise for another hour.
  5. Cook in the oven at 400F for about 10 minutes. They should still be soft and shouldn't brown up.
  6. Take the rolls rolls out of the oven and place them on a cooling rack to cool down.
  7. When they are cool enough to handle, cut them in half and place back in the oven at 250F cut side up to dry out. Cook for about 1 hour or until toasted throughout.
  8. Get the toasted friselle out of the oven and let them cool down on a cooling rack.
  9. The friselle are ready and will last months if stored in a dry place.
  10. Topping
  11. Wash the tomatoes and dice them saving all their liquid.
  12. Place the diced tomatoes and their liquid in a bowl and season to taste with salt, pepper, basil and olive oil. Mix everything up and let rest for a couple of minutes.
  13. If you are using the garlic, rub the clove onto the friselle to season them up.
  14. Top the friselle with the tomatoes and their juices and let them rest for a couple of hours so that the tomato juices can soften them up.
  15. Serve as an appetizer or a snack or even a light lunch.
  16. To speed up the softening process, you can soak the friselle in warm water before topping them with the tomatoes.
  17. You can make the topping more substantial by adding canned tuna to the tomatoes.

This entry was posted in Appetizer, Bread, Eggs, cheese and vegeterian, EntrΓ©e, Salad, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Recipe swap: friselle with tomatoes

  1. Gina Tufano says:

    Finally the recipe that i wanted. Beautiful. Can’t wait 2 make this. Thank u, Thank u, thank u .xoxo

  2. Alli says:

    Looks like we had the same idea of keeping the bread and the tomatoes from the recipe. I liked the part of the story about sailors dipping the bread in the ocean water πŸ™‚ Your tomatoes are beautiful!

  3. Raymund says:

    That looks so nice and healthy!

  4. I love how you took the elements of the original recipe and ran with it! Sounds amazing…maybe without the sea water – ha! Great fact πŸ™‚

  5. Kat says:

    I was actually fascinated to learn that sailors used friselle. It makes a lot of sense (and pretty clever too soaking it in seawater). These look delicious! As somebody mentioned, they also remind me of a bruschetta but for the bread!

  6. Hi Pola. This very much reminds me of the Greek dakos!
    I love this. I’m excited to try the Italian version!

  7. Ely says:

    Le friselle mi piacciono molto, Γ¨ un pane che si presta a molte varianti, quelle buone buone le ho mangiate a Napoli condite con ogni ben di dio…. Con i pomodori e un buon olio evo Γ¨ la morte sua πŸ™‚ Baci

  8. Chiara says:

    ..vedo con piacere che i tuoi followers sono aumentati, sono proprio felice!

  9. Chiara says:

    una vera ricchezza della nostra cucina italiana, che delizia! buon weekend cara, bacioni….

  10. I’ve heard word “friselle” on TV and had no idea what it was. Now I can even make it myself, Thank you!

  11. Lana says:

    Simple, good quality ingredients make for wonderful meals. I have to admit that I have never heard of friselle, even though I have a degree in Italian:) By your description it could be something similar to German Zwiebeck – very hard, very dry toast that could last for a long time.
    BTW I loved your recipe for Mayo Rolls:)

  12. I thought of delicious bruschetta when I was reading about this, which is so delicious. As you say, it’s just the bread that is different πŸ™‚

  13. Rachel says:

    As a sailor I can say I would be thrilled to eat friselle with your juicy, garlicky tomato topping any day at sea (or otherwise, for that matter). Isn’t the whole point of toasting bread so we can top it with yummy things?

  14. Gio says:

    queste freselle gli americani se le sognano la notte!!! πŸ˜€

  15. Bread and tomatoes? Why I think I will please.I’ve not heard of THIS dish but then I’m not Italian but just love Italian food. Nice job…want those rolls stat! πŸ™‚

  16. Kiri W. says:

    This looks like a great refreshing snack πŸ™‚ Love it!

  17. Geraldine says:

    A great recipe. I too was unfamiliar with friselle, but once I read up on it a bit it really sounds like a lovely thing. I will be trying this recipe within the next few days.
    You indeed did win the recipe swap πŸ™‚ Tomatoes and toast are just always yummy (and healthy!)

    • PolaM says:

      They are not that famous outside the borders of Italy, but they do taste great! And It is a great way of “preserving” bread

  18. Lora @cakeduchess says:

    Anch’io non so da dove vengono queste ricette un po strane;) Love your friselle…a super interpretation of the not so exciting tomato pudding;)

  19. Alida says:

    I never heard of friselle and really like this recipe. Always something new to learn and a yummy one too! X

  20. Simple, elegant, delicious! I love it. What a great interpretation of the original recipe!

  21. alex says:

    great swap! I just love tomatoes in a dish!

    • PolaM says:

      I was known for eating only tomatoes as a child… Now I eat other stuff too, but tomatoes retain a special place in my heart!

  22. Federica says:

    mi aspetti per cena?? porto il gelato!!baci!

  23. Julia says:

    Seriously, who actually ATE these wacky recipes we’re challenged to use as inspiration??? This looks refreshing and reminds me of panzanella because of the super crusty, stale, hard bread.

    • PolaM says:

      Exactly! And is even more than that: not only they ate it, but someone thought that those were the best recipes in the country!

  24. Mary says:

    This looks delicious. Kind of like a bruschetta, but so much better fully loaded with tomatoes!

  25. How delicious these look!

  26. Yes, m’dear, I think you won indeed with this recipe. I was thinking something similarly for a bit – how awesome is some sort of fresh tomato dish on toast?!! Stellar recipe, as always!

    • PolaM says:

      Thanks! I love this recipe! And when the friselle are done, it is basically a non recipe… I used to have it a lot for lunch back in Italy…

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